A former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has advised the Federal Government not to ignore calls to restructure the country into viable regions.
In a goodwill message at the 18th annual convention of the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), held on Friday in Enugu, Musa said that the country as presently administered along state lines had become `un-viable.’
He said that emphasis needed to be placed on true fiscal federalism and a reversal to regional structures in order to engender even development across the country.
“As presently constituted, the states are virtually all un-viable entities, which are incapable of continuing to exist as viable constituent units of a true federal structure.
“Reverting, to say, a six regional federal structure would reduce the competitive pressure for power at the centre and redirect more attention to regional political competencies,” he said.
Musa said that there was little doubt that the Igbo ethnic nationality like many others had a raw deal in the Nigeria project.
“This had been particularly so since the conclusion of the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War and the failure of the state to continue to be faithful to the policy of ‘no victor’, ‘no vanquished.’
“At best, the policy of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation has not been diligently pursued by successive federal administrations.
“I would like to congratulate the IYM for choosing to conduct this dialogue within the context and parameters of national unity and not secessionist disaggregation,” Musa said.
Also speaking, a former governor of Anambra, Mr Peter Obi, said that the cost of governance had become `ridiculous and unacceptable.’
Obi said that Nigerians must work for the common good of the country and needed to resolve to shape Nigeria the way it should be.
He said that corruption by those in authority had taken its toll on the economy, adding, “it is now an achievement for government to put street lights while the people do not have electricity in their homes.
“Just this past Christmas, some people did not have money to eat while some state governments spent millions to decorate the streets,” he said.
Obi alleged that the resources of state and local government areas were being mismanaged by those it were entrusted on, adding that things must change for good.
The guest lecturer at the convention, Prof. Banji Akintoye, said that it would be in the interest of the country to establish better administrative structures that would sustain the economy.
Akintoye said that the country would be more prosperous if administered along regional lines, adding that the time had come for Nigerians to take back their country.
“We must stop agonizing. Nigeria is a great country and we must not allow it to crumble through over-centralisation of governance,” Akintoye said.
The convener, Mr Elliot Uko, said that such discussions had become imperative as it would further strengthen the unity of the country and give the people a better bargain.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convention was attended by many cultural organisations in the South East and beyond.